Allergen Profile, Mold

Aspergillus fumigatus

Optimal Result: 0 - 0.1 kU/L.

The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus causes allergic diseases, respiratory illnesses, and bloodstream infections.

Aspergillus fumigatus is a common mold (=a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors.

It grows on plants, soil, rotting vegetable matter, household dust, building materials, and food items.

Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus referred to as Aspergillosis.

There are different types of aspergillosis. Some types are mild, but some of them are very serious:

 Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA): Aspergillus causes inflammation in the lungs and allergy symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, but doesn’t cause an infection.

 Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis: Aspergillus causes inflammation in the sinuses and symptoms of a sinus infection (drainage, stuffiness, headache) but doesn’t cause an infection.

 Aspergilloma: also called a “fungus ball.”: As the name suggests, it is a ball of Aspergillus that grows in the lungs or sinuses, but usually does not spread to other parts of the body.

– Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis: a long-term (3 months or more) condition in which Aspergillus can cause cavities in the lungs. One or more fungal balls (aspergillomas) may also be present in the lungs.

– Invasive aspergillosis: a serious infection that usually affects people who have weakened immune systems, such as people who have had an organ transplant or a stem cell transplant. Invasive aspergillosis most commonly affects the lungs, but it can also spread to other parts of the body.

– Cutaneous (skin) aspergillosis: Aspergillus enters the body through a break in the skin (for example, after surgery or a burn wound) and causes infection, usually in people who have weakened immune systems. Cutaneous aspergillosis can also occur if invasive aspergillosis spreads to the skin from somewhere else in the body, such as the lungs.

References:

– Aspergillosis: spectrum of disease, diagnosis, and treatment. [L]

– Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis: review of literature and proposal of new diagnostic and classification criteria. [L]

– Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis: A review of clinical manifestations and current treatment strategies [L]

– Clinical manifestations and treatment outcomes of pulmonary aspergilloma. [L]

– Chronic cavitary and fibrosing pulmonary and pleural aspergillosis: case series, proposed nomenclature change, and review. [L]

– Cutaneous Aspergillosis [L]

What does it mean if your Aspergillus fumigatus result is too high?

Aspergillus Fumigatus Symptoms:

Symptoms of A. fumigatus vary depending on the type of disease.

Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis may cause:

– Wheezing and coughing, sometimes with mucus or blood
– Fever
– Chest pain
– Difficulty breathing
– Fatigue
– Weight loss
– Fungus balls also cause cough (with or without blood) and difficulty breathing.

Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis causes typical sinusitis symptoms, including:

– Stuffy or runny nose
– Headache
– Reduced sense of smell

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) causes symptoms similar to those of asthma, including:

– Wheezing and shortness of breath
– Cough, especially with brown-colored mucus
– Fever (in rare cases)

Invasive aspergillosis can cause a number of severe symptoms, which differ depending on the organs affected. Symptoms can include:

– Fever and chills
– Difficulty breathing
– Kidney or liver failure
– Shock
– Chest pain
– Bloody cough
– Bleeding in the lungs

Potential treatment:

– The allergic forms of A. fumigatus disease are usually treated with the antifungal drug itraconazole. Various corticosteroids may also help for allergic bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis.

– Surgery is often necessary to remove aspergillomas.

– Invasive aspergillosis is typically treated with the antifungal drug voriconazole, and occasionally with surgery, depending on the extent of disease.

– Drug resistance is a growing problem in treating Aspergillus diseases.

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